The Funny Thing About Death

I’ve written a book which I hope is in part a celebration of my big sister who died of cancer age 57. People have said to me that it must have been hard and upsetting to write but strangely it wasn’t, it was like spending time with her again.

My sister Annie was a writer and when I was writing I felt connected to her, as though I was feeling what she had felt being a writer, sitting at her computer, why she loved it so much, just you and a laptop, like a muscle memory but it was hers not mine. I have the same muscle memory when I’m gardening, I seem to know how to do things because I saw my Dad doing it, it’s him doing it not me. It’s a comforting feeling that sense of whoever you’ve lost moving through you, fleetingly.

I have used some extracts from her writing in the book, as there’s no better way to get to know her than to read her own words and also I can hear her saying “Oh so you’re a writer now are you? Hmmm… would you like to point out my books to people”. Yes I will Annie.

Six years ago, Jo Caulfield was about to go on stage when she found out that her big sister Annie had cancer. Not the best way to start a nationwide comedy tour. But the tour turned out to be a welcome distraction for both sisters. As Jo reported back from various hotels and service stations, they revisited their childhood and adolescence while navigating Annie’s illness, learning through trial and error how to behave when someone you love gets sick. 

The Funny Thing About Death began by Jo writing a few articles to help herself process what had happened, it is now a hilarious memoir of two unconventional girls growing up in the 1970s. It will was published on 3rd August by Birlinn Polygon.

Like her stand-up, Jo Caulfield’s caustic wit and razor-sharp observations make her account of life with her sister, even in the worst of times, as entertaining as it is touching and relatable.

All of Jo’s profits from The Funny Thing About Death will be donated to MacMillan Cancer Support – a charity which Jo has already raised over £50,000 for through bucket collections at the end of her Edinburgh Fringe shows. There will be a chance to buy a copy of the book at the end of each tour show.

Book cover featuring a photo of Jo and her sister as children with the text 'The Funny Thing About Death'.

The Funny Thing About Death